Definition of Fender

Boat fenders are inflatable protective devices that cushion the hull of a boat, absorbing any impact that comes from colliding with the dock, the pilings, or other vessels within the harbor.

They’re made out of rubber, plastic, or foam and come in a variety of sizes and shapes, depending on the needs of the boat. Generally, short, cylindrical fenders work best for shorter, lighter vessels, while spherical and center hole fenders work better for larger boats, such as yachts.

typical cylindrical fenders on a boat

round fenders on a larger ship

So how do you know which type of fender is right for your boat?

You need to consider:

  • Boat weight: A boat carrying a heavier load than its size suggests will require a heavy-duty fender compared to a lighter boat.
  • Boat length: The rule of thumb is one fender for every 10 feet of waterline, with a minimum of three fenders for each boat; therefore, a longer boat would require more fenders.
  • Mooring conditions: Bow-to, stern-to, and side-on mooring methods expose different parts of the boat to the dock. Side-on mooring requires the most cushions as it exposes the entire side to the quay.

Example of Fender in a Sentence

"The air pressure in your fenders must be strong enough to repel incoming impact and soft enough to indent when touched"

Synonyms: boat bumpers

Related Terms for Fender